Album Review: Deathrage – Down in the Depth of Sickness

Deathrage - Down in the Depth of Sickness

Deathrage [Italy]
Down in the Depth of Sickness
1990/2014
Full Length
Metal Master Records/Punishment 18 Records
Thrash Metal

Apart from their debut full length album, Deathrage sees their sophomore (and final) full length album getting reissue treatment as well by Punishment 18 Records. With the Italian thrash outfit’s debut Self Conditioned, Self Limited leaving a rather deep impact with the speed and their references to classic thrash bands such as Sadus and Dark Angel, it would be nice to hear the band’s progression and evolution that came with the introduction of new vocalist, Alex Nicolini.

Along with the inclusion of Nicolini, on Down in the Depth of SicknessDeathrage ditches their classic thrash metal sound for one that is somewhat more progressive than their previous material. For one, the band has taken down the speed by a notch, and from the melodic approach that is on opening track D.I.T.D.O.S., it sounds almost as though the band had taken a more traditional heavy metal route instead on Down in the Depth of Sickness, upping the heaviness for the reduction in speed on the album. From Nobody Was Here onwards, Nicolini’s vocal approach takes some getting used to, with his vocal being less gruff that that of his predecessor, with the aforementioned track even seeing him use a spoken style, though for the most part his vocals sound like a rather frustrated shout. Tracks such as A Price Too High to Pay further reinforce that touch of heavy metal with the riffs and the lead guitars, at the same time showing the light-hearted side of the band.

Deathrage has this time included some rather progressive elements into their music, and this could be heard from the numerous rather sudden shifts in pace and tempo throughout the album. Furthermore, Down in the Depth of Sickness also introduced a darker sound to Deathrage‘s music than before, and aside from the overall slower pace and heavier sound that the band utilised on the album, there is also the inclusion of sound and spoken samples at the background to create a lingering haunting atmosphere.

That said, there are still elements that are still reminiscent of their debut, and tracks like Suicide Age has a rather heavy punk edge to it, with that simple single, repeating riff that lasts the entirety of the album and the gang-chants that accompany the track.

With the current trend being the emulation of the old school sound, innovating and creating new styles and sounds is definitely something to be admired, and bands such as Morbus Chron and Tribulation have taken the bold step to go out of their comfort zone to release some of the more psychedelic extreme metal releases of current times. While Down in the Depth of Sickness sees Deathrage taking such an approach at a time when speed was key in thrash metal, this unfortunately did little for the band, resulting in an album that sounds rather random and incoherent at times, often breaking what momentum the band has built up beforehand, and causing the band to sound as though they were unsure about the direction to take.

On top of the standard album tracks, Punishment 18 Records have also included a number of bonus demo tracks, and while the album tracks themselves might disappoint thrashers that liked Self Conditioned, Self Limited, these demo tracks manage to provide some salvation, having a sound closer to the band’s debut.

[xrr rating=3/5]

Deathrage on the internet:
Punishment 18 Records

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